The Blog

Biden Advises Gun Owners to Act Illegally

5:31 PM, Feb 21, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

The other day, Vice President Joe Biden revealed that he told his wife to fire warning shots off their balcony if an intruder were near. "If there's ever a problem," Biden said he told his wife, Jill, "just walk out on the balcony here--walk out, put that double barrel shot gun and fire two blasts outside the house -- I promise you whoever is coming in ... You don't need an AR-15, it's harder to aim, it's harder to use...Buy a shotgun! Buy a shotgun!"

But listening to Biden's advice could result in breaking the law.

"Tom Shellenberger, a lawyer who serves as a spokesman for the Delaware State Sportsmen's Association, told U.S. News that Biden's security tip was 'the worst type of advice,'" reports U.S. News

"I am a member of the Delaware Bar, as is Vice President Biden," noted Shellenberger. "There are a number of statutory restrictions that could be violated by shooting a shotgun 'off the porch.'"

In addition to felony charges, Shellenberger cited the "Discharge of a firearm within 15 yards of a road (7 Del.C. § 719), a misdemeanor," and "Violation of the residential dwelling safety zone as set forth in 7 Del.C. § 723, also a misdemeanor."

Listening to Biden's advice would also defy common sense.

"I just took a concealed carry class here in Florida in order to get my license to do so," writes Jack Thompson, a retired Florida attorney. "The instructors, who are very good, make it clear that just as a matter of common sense you don't fire warning shots of any kind because a) you are unloading your gun, which makes it useless should the invasion continue, b) you are putting others at risk by firing warning shots, c) maybe most importantly, you eliminate the element of surprise that you have if there is an intruder and you are waiting for him behind a closed door. Bang! Who is going to be surprised, you or he? and d) the castle doctrine, that you can kill anybody breaking into your home, does not extend to discharging weapons outside your home. Let's say you fire a warning shot, and the intruder sees you, Jill Biden, up on the balcony, and then that intruder does something provocative, like pointing his gun or shouting or whatever. You do not have a legal right to use deadly force, which you might be prompted to do, when you are outside of your home or castle."

Thompson adds, "This then is all around stupid advice by Biden, not the least of which is to get a double barrel shotgun, which is the most antiquated of all shotguns. What you want is a Remington pump, for example, whose 870 model, the most popular, holds 6 shells. The last thing you want to be doing, in a high stress situation, is breaking open a breach-loaded double barrel shotgun to reload, fumbling around with shells and in fact looking for the shells."

Recent Blog Posts

The Weekly Standard Archives

Browse 19 Years of the Weekly Standard

Old covers